I AM The Way, The Truth, and The Life, No one comes to The Father,
except through ME.
I was born into the Roman Catholic faith, baptized as an infant, had godparents who never saw me, but were picked because they were relatives. Our family attended Mass every Sunday at noon. My brothers and sisters and I went to catechism every Saturday. This, I have since learned was to indoctrinate me into the Catholic religion. Like all other Catholic children, I made my first communion when I was 9 years old. This was expected. We would go into the confessional which was a dark little room. There was only a tiny window, and the priest would slide it open when he was ready to hear the confession. All I saw of the priest was a silhouette listening to my confession. I was on my knees, would tell the priest how long it had been since my last confession, and would recite “The Act of Contrition.” We usually went to confession during the Mass, when my mother would order my brother and I to go stand in the queue and confess. The sins were always the same, “I talked back to my mother and father”, “I fought with my two brothers because they are impossible.” The priest would make the sign of “The Cross”, and tell me I was forgiven. “Recite five Hail Marys.”
The walk back to the pews was embarassing, as I had missed most of the Mass. But I had done what my mother had asked of me. When I was a teenager, I never understood how reciting, 5 “Hail Marys” could absolve the sin of talking back to my parents and fighting with my two brothers. It wasn’t disobedience, but I would usually say a few, but not all five. My mother would whisper, “You couldn’t have said all your prayers.” Reluctantly, I would then recite the rest of the Hail Marys.
I wasn’t what you would call a rebellious child. However, before I made my first communion, I asked the nun, “How God was One in Three Persons, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit?” I guess I shouldn’t have expected a better answer from the nun as she was always an unpleasant teacher. She quickly retorted, “You say that He is, or you don’t make your first communion!” So, I said what she wanted me to say, “God was One in Three Persons, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.” When you are only 9, you expect adults to be kinder. I had expected a smile on her ribbon like lips, with the words, “God revealed this in His Word.” or “In faith, we accept this, Matty”
When I was 20, God did something miraculous in my life. I was a student in college, sitting on campus on the verge of tears, as I often was scribbling in my journal. There were fresh wounds on my arms hidden by long sleeves. My parents had been divorced almost 3 years. My stint in the U.S. Army didn’t work out. I knew nothing of romantic love. It was inexplicable at the time. My heart continually broke, it was numb, frozen, bleeding, twisted, raw, and millions of wrong answers were etched into it. My dad hardly spoke to me at the time, and I had adored him. My mother, was going out all of the time, as she was barely 40. My older brother attended U.C. Berkeley, my younger brother was in-love, my two younger sisters were teenagers. I fit in nowhere, except to die in a sock drawer somewhere, or barely a bit of dust or a piece of dirt on the ground. I was nothing, and felt like nothing. There was a zombie-like quality about me, death was drilling a hole into my head. My soul wanted to glorify death. I still remember the words I wrote, the thoughts I had. The Mass did nothing for me. The priests could explain nothing to me, this pit, I was chained to. My parents only used to tell me to be good. But, what did that mean? So, I asked Him, with dried blood on my arms, and tears streaming down my young face, I begged God, “Lord, smile down upon me, approve of what I do.”
If God had not responded, I know I would not be here on Red Bubble writing this to you. God, I now, know, held onto me. There was death yawning before me, it was the hand of Jesus that had my hand. Without understanding why, I was drawn to the Bible, it became irresistable to me. The Word of God shined and drew me into it’s pages, into the words that became alive, more alive than anyone I ever knew. Everyday I would read for hours and hours, skipping t.v. shows. But The Word, was so delightful to me, my best friend, Jesus in the pages, my soul mate. He became more than a father to me. My heart burned, not in a way that tormented me, in a way that made me feel loved. I read everything, cover to cover. There were things the Catholic church did, that were not compatible with The Scriptures. So, I asked to meet with the priest. One of the things I asked him, “Why do we have to confess our sins to you?” The Bible says, “For there is one God and one Mediator, between God and men, The Man, Christ Jesus.” (1 Timothy 2:5) So, my question to you is, why are you acting as the mediator?" He answered, “Have you been going to other religions?” “No, I have been reading the bible.” "Why do we pray to The Virgin Mary? "Why are there statues in the church, of Mary, and The Apostles? God doesn’t want us to make graven images. Why is there a pope? Why is the pope so important? There were other many other questions that the priest did not answer. Basically, scales fell from my eyes. I had been duped, the world, religion, none of it was what I had believed.
I realized the Catholic Church imposed alot of doctrine, that were not in The Holy Scriptures. To finally read for myself The Truth, made me feel free. I knew the pope was not anyone special. He is only a man. There was alof of pomp around him, and many Catholics became offended if less was made of this man. He is called by some Catholics and The Vatican, “Holy Father.” or “Papa.” The Pope was seen as The Father, The Head of The Catholic Church. Which I learned was a lie. Jesus Christ is The Head of The Church. Not the pope, or anyone else. I learned those who believed in Jesus Christ were the living members of His Body, indwelt by The Holy Spirit. It offended me that so much attention, adoration, was given to this man. Cardinals kissed the ring on his hand, and knelt before him. The pope even sat on a throne of some kind. Our Lord Jesus never even sat on a throne when he was on the earth.
I hated the almost worship that went to this human man. Not even angels were to be worshiped. The papacy is supposed to be based on this Scripture, "And I also say to you that you are Peter, and on this rock, I will build My church, and the gates of Hades shall not prevail against it. “And I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven.” (Matthew 17: 18-19) The Apostle Peter was supposed to have been the first pope or vicar of Christ. But Peter was crucified upsidown. It was said, he didn’t want to be crucified the same way as his Lord, so he was crucified upsidown. Peter would have been too humble to have been seated on an earthly throne.
Over the centuries, the papacy has been bathed in scandal. I am not even writing about all of the recent child abuse by some of the priests in the Catholic church. Just scandalous behavior by some of the popes throughout the ages. The last pope, Pope John Paul II was almost deified. He was canonized in 2011. When he passed away, 4 million mourners made a pilgrimmage to Rome to view his body that was on display inside a glass casket. I remember this disturbed me immensely. It is Jesus Christ that was crucified on the cross, He was made the curse, He drank the cup of God’s wrath, not this man.
This past week, Pope Benedict XVI resigned. The Catholic world is making such a fuss. Who will replace him? The Vatican will go through another papal conclave to choose another pope to replace this one. My thought is, it really doesn’t matter. Pope Benedict has the right idea, he doesn’t need to be the pope, no one should. It is our Lord Jesus Christ who shed His Blood, He is the One who is The Son of God, who left the Glory of Heaven to be a humble servant as a ransom for many. He is our High Priest, He is Heaven’s Glory, our Bridegroom. This man is an imposter. I am personally happy for Benedict, that he stepped down. Our Lord Jesus Christ said, “So the first shall be last, and the last shall be first.” (Matthew 20:16) The way to God The Father is through Jesus Christ. The way of our Lord Jesus Christ is of a servant. It is servanthood, not glorification of ourselves. We are all saints through Jesus Christ. No one, but God needs to justify us. “If God is for us, who can be against us?” (Roman 8:31)
If that nun were still alive I would say to her, "It is not the papa, It is The Son, The Son of The Living God. As The Apostle Peter said two thousand years ago, “Thou Art The Christ, The Son of The Living God.” (Matthew 16:16)
For there is one God and one Mediator between God and men, the Man Christ Jesus,
who gave Himself as a ransom for all.
(1 Timothy 2:5-6)
I never felt comfortable confessing my sins to the priest. It is an intimate act between Father and child, between Savior and believer. The Holy Spirit compels us to confess only to Almighty God, not to any man. Only The Blood of Jesus Christ cleanses our sins, only He has the authority to forgive our sins. No man has that authority, except to forgive wrongs committed against them. I pray, and continue to pray that the Catholic church move into The Light of The Glory of The Son. No more confessionals, no more mediators, the priesthood is each and every believer, no prayers to Mary, only Christ is our Redeemer. No more popes.